Crikey intern Jane Vashti Ryan writes: I like to pop out for a quiet beer every now and then. Sometimes I head down to my local in the Dandenong Ranges (quietly nestled over Melbourne). Other times, I like to head further afield.
Some would call this a really-long-popping-out-for-a-beer trip. I call it a day trip, or: My Favourite Kind of Trip. No packing and no planning required. All you need for an excellent day trip is a spare eight hours. A dog and a long, dusty road also tend to add to the overall effect.
On Sunday, I took a day trip to Sorrento. Sorrento, for those of you unlucky enough not to already know, is a peachy little town, hanging just off the bum of the Mornington Peninsula.
Think sandstone, sunshine, seaside and (to ruin a perfectly good alliteration) bloody sensational fish and chips.
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Directions: If you’re in Melbourne, you head out of town in a south-easterly direction, and just keep driving until your car starts to get wet.
Sunday (for those of you who support Collingwood, and didn’t get to see it) was the first real spring day of 2010. Think the smell of grass clippings, the sound of contented urban wildlife (no, not the neighbour’s kids) and bacon and eggs on the barbie.
I hopped up and knew at once that this was the perfect day for a really-long-popping-out-for-a-beer trip. So I scooped up my newly minted best-ever 1970s rock-ballads play list, grabbed the dog and a bottle of Cottee’s Coola cordial and jumped in the car. Windows went down, Creedence Clearwater crooned and we were off.
One of the things I love best about driving on the freeway is making friends with fellow travellers along the way. A wave here, a smile there, and the old freak out the kids in the back seat with ELO dance moves trick add greatly to my day trip enjoyment.
Once I arrived in Sorrento, that sleepy little nook, I headed straight for the newsagency, which sports not only a staggering number of romance novels, but also one of the gloomiest sales assistants I’ve yet to encounter (she was gloomy last year too).
I suppose catering to mountains of on-holidays bastards is not the best way to improve one’s countenance, though how she can be so consistently grumpy when surrounded by so many texts discussing throbbing members and swollen areolas I’ll never understand.
With a “Cheerio!” I tucked my weekend papers under my arm and set off for a coffee and a rollie at the famed Continental Hotel Restaurant, where the coffee is revolting, but the views are astounding. As you sit waiting for the charred remains of a soggy coffee bean to sip on, even the most melancholy coffee snob will find their thoughts turning to the benefits of a seaside existence as they gaze at the Sorrento pier snaking out into the ocean behind a row of pencil pines.
Next, it was down to the beach with one extremely happy pooch. Harry is my dog’s name. He’s like a leggy three-year old child who cannot ride a tricycle, and his passion for being near — but not in — the water is unparalleled.
As we approached the ocean, and my toes hit the sand, Harry looked at me, and I at him. Surrounded by day-tripping families and other much more cosmopolitan pooches than he, he was unwilling to venture into the water. His masculinity is somewhat compromised by a soaking, in fact, he comes to more closely resemble a rodent than a canine in no time. So we settled into little bum-nestled grooves in the hot sand and drank Cottee’s Coola while I read the business section, and Harry did the Sudoku.
I was even wearing a red polka dot scarf in my hair.